Pediatric Power Trip? Docs Fire Parents Who Won’t Vaccinate

Posted by jeannesager on October 25th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

If you’re thinking about opting out on vaccines, you might want to check with your doctor. No, not about whether it’s a good idea. Whether the practice will let you keep bringing your kid.

Pediatricians who are fed up with the anti-vaccine movement are beginning to show patients the door.

According to ABC, at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics last week, doctors spoke out about the difficulty of meeting both a parent’s needs and a child’s when the parents are insistent on believing in faulty science.

Dr. Mary Fallat, chair of the Committee of Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told ABC” doctors should try hard to work with parents, if they refuse to vaccinate, by providing information and trying to come to an agreement about a vaccination schedule.”

But when that doesn’t work, Fallat says the pediatrician may decide they can’t treat that child. Especially when they feel that their ethical obligation to keep a child healthy is being thwarted by a parent.

Most interesting in this article were the quotes from a non-vaxing mom who says her doc said she’s a liability to his practice. She has a child with autism, so she has chosen to follow the (disproven) logic that the vaccines were the source. She’s opting out on vaccinating her second child.

But there’s no mention of what would happen if the second child then ends up with any of those illnesses vaccines are meant to prevent – the illnesses that can kill a child or leave them with life-long side effects. Would a parent than have the opportunity to sue the doctor for not taking appropriate care of their child? Remember – the parents don’t have medical degrees (even from Google), and the doctor does. Who would have the best standing in court?

Look at it that way, and the doctor has a strong argument for kicking the parents out of the practice. He or she is not forcing parents to vaccinate – which would be taking away their right to parent. But just as the parents have a right to make a choice, the doctor does too. Should a doctor be forced to provide care for a child that they cannot stand behind? That all their medical training tells them is NOT the right answer?